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Akunyili wants Anambra Central Senatorial election dispute probed

Abuja – Prof. Dora Akunyili, APGA senatorial candidate, Anambra Central, has urged security agencies to investigate the circumstances leading to the impasse in the outcome of the National Assembly elections in the district.

She made the appeal in a statement, a copy of which was made available  on Thursday in Abuja.

Tracing the evolution of the dispute, Akunyili said: “Based on available information from INEC, the 2011 Anambra Central Senatorial problem started even before voting commenced.

“Prof. Godwin Onu, the Returning Officer for the zone, was nowhere to be found, apparently having changed his mind about the assignment at the last minute.

“Determined to see that the election held, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukogu, around 10 a.m. that Saturday appointed Dr Alex Anene as the new Returning Officer for the Zone after many credible Anambrarians who were contacted turned down the offer.

“Dr Anene was not trained for the job because of the circumstances surrounding his appointment. He also did not take oath of allegiance as required by law,’’ Akunyili said.

“When results started coming to the senatorial district collation centre from various local governments, Dr Anene suddenly abandoned the collated results and disappeared.

“At the time Dr Anene absconded from duty, all the results were ready except that of Idemili North Local Government. He was next seen on Sunday evening (April 10) on TV, addressing a press conference at a hotel.

“In that press conference, Dr Anene claimed that he came under pressure from APGA and the Anambra State Government to rig the election in favour of Prof. Akunyili — a baseless allegation which has since been denied.

“Based on the above scenario, the REC, Prof. Onukogu, declared Dr. Anene as having absconded from duty and appointed Prof. Charles Esimone to replace him,’’ she said.

Akunyili said that Onukogu on Monday morning held a press conference in the INEC office at Awka, during which he introduced Prof. Esimone as the new Returning Officer for Anambra Central Senatorial District after Dr Anene absconded from duty.

“Prof. Esimone thereafter declared the results. For the concluded votes, I polled 66,273, while Dr. Ngige got 65,576. INEC, however, declared the election inconclusive and ordered a re-run in four wards and four polling booths.

“Events took a comical turn at 9:45 p.m. on the same day, when Dr Anene assembled some journalists at a hotel in Awka and announced that Dr Ngige had won the election by scoring 68,208 votes against the 68,164 votes which he allotted to Prof. Akunyili.

“The press conference was not attended by any INEC official or agents of the political parties as required by law,” Akunyili said.

According to her, Anene’s action contradicts the Electoral Act, which requires that results be announced at the INEC office in the presence of INEC officials, agents of the political parties that contested the election and security agencies.

“Both the REC, Prof. Onukogu, and INEC Chairman, Prof. Jega, have since declared that Anene absconded from duty and was replaced. That makes any action that he took null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“I welcome the INEC chairman’s decision to investigate the issue, and I look forward to getting justice at the end of the day.

“I urge the security agencies to do their work and thoroughly investigate Dr Anene’s claims and activities during and after the election, and to bring whoever is found to have engaged in any corrupt practice to book,” the APGA candidate said. (NAN)


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